Latest Mercedes-AMG A 45 superhatch gets a brand new 2.0-litre engine and an extra-hot S version for the first time
Mercedes-AMG has struck the first blow in a battle between itself and Audi to develop new ultra-hot hatchbacks by revealing this: the 415bhp, second-generation A 45
Revealed at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, this new flagship A-Class is built around its formidable engine. Although this latest A 45 sticks with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, what you’ll find under the bonnet is totally new and takes the title of the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine.
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For the first time Mercedes-AMG has developed two versions of the A 45. The base A 45 develops 382bhp – just 1bhp more than the outgoing model – and Mercedes claims a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds – 0.1 seconds faster than before. Top speed is limited to 155mph, but can be raised to 168mph through an optional AMG Driver’s Package.
Mercedes has also developed a more powerful S badged version of the A 45 to keep the car in line with other flagship AMG models; the A 45 S uses the same 2.0-litre engine but develops 415bhp and 500Nm of torque. Mercedes claims 0-62mph is possible in 3.9 seconds – a figure beating the V8 powered AMG GT Coupe. Top speed is limited to 168mph
The engine itself is mounted with the turbocharger and exhaust manifold at the rear, with the intake system at the front. Mercedes claims this enables a more aerodynamic front end design and assists with cooling. New lightweight construction and low friction measures in the engine result in a redline of 7,200rpm.
Both versions send power to Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, which can be operated via paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
While the engine stands as a core ingredient of the new A 45, chassis, driveline and suspension tuning has not been neglected in the pursuit of power. Dive into the car’s many traction control settings and drive modes and you’ll find a new drift mode, which is standard on the A 45 S. Available when the car is in Race mode, it utilises electro-mechanical torque vectoring on the rear axle to distribute torque between the left and right wheels. In tandem with variable torque between the front and rear axles, the Drift mode splits power as necessary to enable controlled slides. It can be optioned on the 382bhp A 45.
Elsewhere, the AMG Dynamic Select switch hosts the usual Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and Race drive modes, serving up various combinations of steering, powertrain responsiveness, exhaust and traction control settings.
As standard the A 45 rides on AMG specific suspension featuring frequency-selective shock absorbers, MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear. Mercedes claims that the ride quality has improved over the old model, but claims better grip and agility levels. AMG Ride Control adaptive damping makes the options list and enables the driver to select through three different suspension control modes, ranging from a comfort oriented setup to a harder setting for track driving. Stopping power is provided by 350mm disks at the front and 330mm disks at the rear, with both sets ventilated and perforated. The S models build on this with 360mm size front disks and six-piston fixed calipers.
The car’s exterior wears a slightly sportier bodykit to the A 35 and features the AMG Aerodynamic package as standard, introducing a modified front splitter with canards and a large rear wing. The bodyshell itself receives reinforcement over the A 35 in search of extra rigidity and stiffness, featuring a “shearing plate” – a lightweight aluminium plate bolted underneath the engine – and additional bracing between the two front suspension struts. Additional struts run through the car’s sides and rear quarters.
Inside you’ll find the usual MBUX infotainment setup spanning the dashboard, while the A 45 is upholstered with a mix of man-made leather and microfibre cloth, and finished with chrome vents and piano black plastic. The A 45 S removes the regular car’s red highlights in favour of more distinctive yellow tints around the cabin. As ever, bucket seats and a flat bottomed sports steering wheel are present as standard, but AMG offers several optional packages in the interior too.
The MBUX infotainment system plays a noticeable supporting role in the new A 45. It’s home to an intensive data logging and telematics system featuring several of Europe’s top racing circuits for accurate lap and sector timing. By using the front facing camera, it can project a live feed of the circuit onto the infotainment display complete with the ideal racing line for the driver to aim at.
UK prices have not been outlined, but when the A 45 goes on sale later in 2019 prices are expected to start at around £45,000 anticipated.
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